|Rhio enjoys the view at the overlook, Skyline Pkwy, June 18|
But for now, the story is about love and loss, basically. (No, don't panic! Everyone is fine! We're just living apart right now!) On May 31, I drove out of Duluth with the dogs in the car, following a set of taillights south on Interstate 35. I would follow those taillights a thousand miles across country, until we reached our final destination of Laporte, Colorado, just northwest of Fort Collins.
We live across the road from a 16 acre pasture with big shade trees, a drainage ditch (which keeps the grass green and growing all summer), and two horsie buddies. This is to be Rhio's temporary home...once I manage to move him from MN to CO. I have been exceedingly fortunate in my horse life, which began over a decade ago when I first purchased Red. I have had the bestest of horse friends, and my horses and I have traveled all over the Midwest to ride and compete. None of this would be possible for me alone, as I do not possess either a truck or a trailer. I hadn't realized just how blessed I was until I began trying to find a way to get Rhio across country.
There are professional haulers who transport horses for a living. Some of them are very, very good at what they do, and the horses travel in comfort and arrive at their destinations fresh as daisies. Some of them are exactly the opposite, and despite pretty pictures on their websites (and perhaps a few "testimonials"), the horses arrive dehydrated, exhausted, or worse. Either way, these services are far from affordable for most of us, and would cost significantly more than Rhio's purchase price! I am also an over-protective horse mom and have already spent hours worrying and fretting about sending him off with an unknown person.
I have also tried the route of snagging an extra trailer spot with someone who was heading this direction, and that hasn't panned out either. So here I sit, horseless and having some difficulty coping with it.
I have met a new horse friend here, and her mother has kindly let me ride her Arabian, and we've explored several new places horseback. I have loved every minute of it. And it is "horse time" - but it is not the same as time with MY horses.
I was home in Minnesota once in June (to see my patients) and Rhio and I snuck out for an hour's ride by ourselves. It was heavenly, and not nearly enough. I saw Red, too - he is living with my good friend D. and is her riding horse for the summer, as hers is lame. She, and he, are very happy with each other and are getting good trail time together. Rhio is fat (well, ok, fat for him, anyway) and bored without being ridden - he is one who needs the mental and physical stimulation of regular work. I feel guilty that he is just sitting in the pasture, I feel antsy that I'm not riding, and mostly I miss that certain indescribable thing that is of, for, and about being with my own horses.
Things are looking good for Rhio to come out in mid-August (but several plans have fallen through so far, so I am desperately trying not to get my heart set on it), and it can't be a day too soon. My horses are my outlet and my inspiration, my heart's balm and my reason to get out there and push myself even if the weather is bad or I'm too tired. Only with my horses does my mind and my soul wander free, almost in meditation and in synchrony with their souls. Every moment with a horse is a moment like none other, with no before and no after, just now. That space is something I'd like to achieve in other areas of my life, but those moments, horse-less, are sadly few and far between.
"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." - Winston Churchill